I don’t often apply for SKE48 Theater shows, although I would love to go more often. For one, it requires a Shinkansen (or overnight bus) ride to Nagoya, and I can only go on the weekend or when I am on vacation. Moreover, I am only really interested in going when either Kaotan or Tani are in the cast. Well, two Team E shows with Tani were scheduled for Monday, and I was on holiday, so I pulled the trigger and applied. Frankly, I never get my hopes up when I apply for SKE shows since I have only ever won twice, the first time in 2011, and the second time a year ago April. Suffice it to say it was a big and pleasant surprise to get the winning email for Monday’s matinee…
This would be my 46th Theater show, and my third time seeing a show at the SKE48 Theater. Previously I had seen Team S and Team KII, so now I had seen each team once. Moreover, this would be my first time ever seeing Tani performing live at any theater. Twice I watched her perform on the monitors at Hawks Town Mall in Fukuoka, and could even hear her yelling during High Wave as I stood just outside the theater doors, but that was as close as I had ever been. I have mentioned to Marika on more than one occasion that I really wanted to see her in the theater, so I was so happy to finally be getting the chance.
I considered taking the overnight bus, which would have lessened the cost of my travel to Nagoya. However, I had such a long day Sunday that by the time I came home I was exhausted, and didn’t feel like turning right back around and heading to Ikebukuro to catch a bus. Not to mention all of my electronics needed to be charged. I ended up oversleeping on Monday and left my apartment much later than planned, although I still got to Nagoya with plenty of time to spare. I went straight to Sakae, purchased my ticket, and looked for somewhere to grab a quick lunch. By the way, the are opening up a McDonalds right next to the theater on the second floor. It doesn’t open until next week, but it will be interesting to see what kind of promotions they might team up for. Anyway…
After storing my backpack, I found my queue spot. I will spare you the play-by-play of the lottery call. I had ticket #106, and they post a board of the draw in order that fans can photograph after the show…
Ugggghhh, we drew in 21st out of 23. The bummer is that the SKE Theater has a lot of seats, and you can probably score a seat as long as you draw in the first 18 groups. Instead I went for the left side standing area, and would have gotten a decent viewing spot, but some jerk pushed past me and took the spot I was going for. It was really a dick move on his part, and I wanted to call him out on it, but I decided to not cause trouble in the theater. In the meantime people were crowding into the standing area, and I was getting pushed around a little bit. At first I was like “Oh well, these are the perils of the standing area,” until I realized what the guy to my right was doing. He was slowly trying to move me out of my spot and push in front of me. I had already been pushed almost a foot to the left before finally having enough. I used my elbow and shoulder to push him back, and reclaimed my spot. After that every time I felt him trying to move back to the left I would lift my right elbow to “subtly” remind him that I wasn’t letting him get away with it, LOL.
This is one of the stages that I have wanted to see for a while. I am a big fan of Team Surprise 1st Stage, so I was excited to see some of those songs performed live. This stage has all my favorite Team Surprise Songs, with the exception of Suiyoubi no Alice. Plus, it has Team Z’s Koi no Onawa, another favorite. I don’t remember if I noticed this when I saw Team KII last year, but unlike at the AKB48 Theater, the fans do not do the “Tiger, Fire…” chant during the overture. As the curtain opened I was committed to focusing and cheering for Marika the entire show. Despite being in the rear of the theater, hopefully she would notice me. In fact a few times it did seem like she was looking at me during the show, but at that distance I can’t be sure. Nevertheless, I screamed her name as much as I could, directing my voice into the ear of the guy who pushed past me, my small dose of revenge. I also ‘accidentally’ smacked him with my lightstick once. (Hehe) When I wasn’t cheering for Tani, I was cheering for Sato Kaho.
It wasn’t until I won this show that I realized I don’t know very many of the Team E members. Out of Team E I have met Tani, Sato Kaho, Saito Makiko, Takahata Yuki, and Nishi Marina. (I have also met Rara and Dasu, but they weren’t there.) Technically I have also met Ida Reona and Sugawara Maya, but I don’t really know them. The one member who really stands out is Shirayuki Kohaku with her long blonde hair. I honestly think that is a really nice look for her. Kurashima Ami also stands out since she’s so tiny. The member who unexpectedly caught my eye the most during the show (aside from Shirayuki) was probably Suenaga Oka. It helped that there were a lot of her fans in my immediate vicinity.
I was pleasantly surprised when the second song started, as Kimi ga Omotteru Yori is also part of the AKB48 Idol Chugyou Chu! stage which I have seen multiple times. For the most part I liked all the units, which is often the most interesting part of any show. Kimi no c/w was cute, and the members synced their dancing very well. My favorite unit was probably Namida ni Shizumu Taiyou, mainly because Kahochan looks incredibly sexy in that gold dress. I’m pretty sure this was the first time I had ever heard Hungry Lion. Cute song. “1994” isn’t among my favorite TS songs, but I do think Tani fits it quite well. As for Oteage Lullaby, I was trying to figure out if Makiko was singing live. For one, she sounded a lot like Takamina, and 2) she was moving demonstratively but her voice seemed unaffected. I would get the definitive answer to my question during the encore when she actually did sing live. This was pre-recorded. In fact, I am not completely convinced it wasn’t Takamina’s voice, LOL.
The main set ends with two songs I like, Heart no Vector, and my #1 favorite Team Surprise song, Kinmokusei. It is such a beautiful ballad, and I love the music video for it. That said, I don’t think the song works quite as well with a full group. I would instead prefer to see this song done as a 3-person unit, but I am glad I got to see it. We were treated to an extra-long encore, beginning with Koi no Onawa, which I thought was the best performance of the show. Great dance choreography and a lot of fun. The reason the encore was so long was because they threw in two songs from SKE’s current single, Ikinari Punch Line and Kimi wa Ramune the Team E unit song. ‘Ramune’ is alright, not one of my favorites. BTW, this is where I heard Saito Makiko’s live singing voice as she took Jurina’s part in ‘Punch Line’, and sounded completely different from her solo unit. There was also a costume change break where one of the kenkyuusei came out and warmed up the crowd. I’m not 100% sure, but I think it was Negai Fukai. She also participated in the ‘High Wave’ at the end…
Dasu was in the evening show group pic, but wasn’t at the matinee performance.
They took quite a while to set up for the final goodbye, and offered to let people leave early who didn’t care to participate. Around a half-dozen fans left. In the meantime I scouted where the members I like were seated. Pretty much all of them were crowded in the middle. Instead of waving I decided to hold up the “Team E” hand sign as I walked by, which got a fairly uniform reaction. Girls were yelling “E!” at me. That included Tani, who I thought would be slightly more animated by my presence. She basically said “Yeah E!” and that was it. I got more personable reactions from Makiko and Kaho, as well as a few members I don’t remember. And with that I left the theater, grabbed my bag and jumped on to the next train back to Nagoya Station.
So I can finally cross this stage off of my list of setlists I really want to see live. Frankly, I still say they should let some of the teams perform the Team Surprise setlists in full as a nice change of pace. As for Tani, I have two tickets to see her at the SKE handshake event this weekend at Makuhari Messe. I plan on bringing up the show. Perhaps I will get a more personal comment one on one. Oh, and check out this amazing shot of Mt. Fuji I got on the way back to Tokyo. The clouds have wrapped around the top almost like a halo. It’s an amazing looking shot!
CK in Tokyo